Tag Archives: Soren Pipes

Restoring a Soren Hand- Carved Sitter Pipe


Blog by Paresh Deshpande

This Soren is the last of the freehand pipes that I had purchased on eBay. Well, this pipe is definitely the smallest of all the four, but it is also the only sitter of this lot!!!!! The medium size of the bowl, angle between the stummel and shank with a fancy stem, lends this pipe a look which is both very attractive and functional at the same time.

The pipe has a combination of smooth surface and sandblast finishes.  These sandblast portions are seen along the entire length of the shank, save for a small smooth portion on the lower surface at the shank end. This smooth portion bears the only stamping seen on this pipe, “Soren” over “HAND-CARVED” over “MADE IN DENMARK”. The upper portion of the stummel shows irregularly designed straight grained smooth surface while the lower portion and the shank, less the stamped portion,  is sandblasted which give this pipe its unique appearance!!! The plateau rim top has a smooth thin surface very close to the inner edge. I absolutely loved this pipe. I searched the internet for information on this pipe. Pipedia has some interesting snippet of information on the carver of this pipe, which I have reproduced below:

“Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen founded a company in 1969, which employed an average of 8 – 12 craftsmen in the 1970’s. The semi-freehands they produced were traded under his prename Søren. Rasmussen himself finished only the very best pipes. So his way of pipemaking closely resembled the ways of Preben Holm, Karl Erik Ottendahl or Erik Nørding. Altogether more than 1,000,000 pipes were sold.

Today he works alone as Refbjerg and manufactures only a small number of pipes in his workshop in DK-2860 Søborg, which are considered to be tremendously precisely executed. The dimensions mostly range from small to medium sized, corresponding to his personal preferences. The shapes adhere to the classical models, but often he gives them a touch of Danish flair. Refbjerg accepts minor faults but never uses any fillings. “Straight Grain” is the only grading, used for his very best pieces. He likes stem decorations made of exotic woods or metal rings.

As Rainer Barbi once stated “Refbjerg uses only briar from Corsica and more than that, he’s the one and only to import it from there, at least in Europe. He’s supplier to the vast majority of the Danish makers”.

Examples and nomenclature, courtesy Doug Valitchka Initial inspection of the pipe revealed the following
There is a thick layer of cake in the bowl. The external surface of the stummel feels solid to the touch and I think there are no issues with the condition of the chamber. However, there are always surprises when you least expect them!!! I have learnt my lessons!!! Thus, condition of the inner walls of the chamber will be ascertained once the chamber has been reamed and the cake is taken back to the bare briar. The plateau rim top and shank end is covered in the overflow of lava, dirt and grime. This will have to be cleaned. The condition of the inner edge will be determined only after removing the cake. The air way in the shank is clogged with oils and tars and will require a thorough cleaning.The stem is firmly stuck to the shank and will not budge. However, other than heavy oxidation, there are no other issues noticed on the stem. The stummel is covered in dust, dirt, oils and grime. The stummel looks dull and lackluster. The grains on the smooth surface and the sandblast are all covered in tars, oils and grime. To be able to appreciate these grains and sandblast, the stummel will have to be cleaned. THE PROCESS
Before I could start the work of cleaning the pipe, I kept it in the freezer for a couple of hours so as to separate the stem from the shank. I removed the pipe from the freezer and tried to remove the stem, but it still did not budge! I let it rest outside for an hour and after applying considerable force, the stem came free. I had followed a YouTube video where the stem was soaked in a solution of hot water and Hydrogen Peroxide in the ratio of 2:1. The stem oxidation had risen to the surface and was much easier to remove. I cleaned the insides of the stem with pipe cleaners and hard bristled pipe cleaners dipped in alcohol. Once the internals were clean and dry, I wiped the stem surface with magic clean sponge and followed it with polishing with micromesh pads. I applied extra virgin olive oil on the stem surface and set it aside to be absorbed by the stem. I am afraid, in my enthusiasm to try out new technique of using Hydrogen Peroxide; I just missed out on taking pictures of each step. Using a Kleen Reem pipe reamer, I removed all the carbon cake from the chamber. This was followed by sanding the inner walls of the chamber with 220 grit sand paper. The internal walls of the chamber were flawless and solid. Thereafter, using Murphy’s oil soap ( undiluted ) and a hard bristled toothbrush on the exterior of the bowl, shank and rim, the pipe was thoroughly cleaned and rinsed under running tap water. I immediately wiped it down with a soft cloth. The sandblast and the smooth surface were now clean and the briar looked clean and solid. I then left the briar to dry out. Once the briar had dried out completely, I rubbed in Before and After Restoration Balm deep into the sandblast as well as the rim top. The bowl was then wiped vigorously with a soft cloth and buffed with a horse hair shoe brush. The result is very pleasing and satisfying to the eyes! I am happy with this progress. This balm is a fantastic product for infusing a nice shine into the briar and giving it a new lease of life.The finished pipe is as shown below. I enjoyed working on this lot of four freehand pipes and each of these pipes has its own individuality and each is beautiful in its own way. I hope you too enjoyed joining me on this wondrous journey of exploring the freehand pipes!!!!!  Thank you for your patience and as always, any suggestions and/ or improvements will help me in learning this art of restoration.

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Repairing and Rejuvenating a Soren Danish Freehand


Blog by Steve Laug

soren1aThe fifth pipe I am working on for Steve in Dawson Creek, British Columbia is a beautiful freehand that is stamped Soren Hand Carved over Made in Denmark on the underside of the shank. The finish is not bad. There were two cracks in the plateau rim top with one of them just on the rim and the other one coming down the left side about ¼ inch. These would need to be repaired. The bowl had a light cake and there was overflow onto the plateau top. This would need to be scraped clean. The shank end was also plateau and it had a lot of dust in the grooves. The finish on the bowl was dirty and there were some small nicks on the sides. It has a diamond-shaped freehand stem that was lightly oxidized and had tooth marks on the top and the underside near the button.soren1I looked up the brand on pipephil (http://www.pipephil.eu/logos/en/logo-s10.html) and found that the brand was carved by Søren Refbjerg Rasmussen. Pipes that he made for the European market were mostly stamped “Refbjerg” while those made for the US market were stamped “Soren”. Thus I knew that one I was working on was imported into the US market.soren2I took a close up photo of the rim and the bowl to show the condition of the pipe when I took it out of the box. The thick cake on the top of the bowl rim filled in much of the plateau surface. You can see the thickness of the cake in the bowl. In the photo you can see that it is thicker at the top than at the bottom of the bowl.soren3I took photos of the stem to show the light oxidation and the scratching and wear to the stem. There were small tooth marks on the top and underside of the stem near the button.soren4I took some photos of the condition of the bowl and the finish before I started cleaning the pipe. I wanted to be able to track the difference in the cleanup of the briar. In the second photo below I used a dental pick to try to pick at the thick cake on the rim. It would not be the way to clean up the rim.soren5I reamed the cake back to bare briar using the Savinelli Pipe Knife. In the photo below you can see the crack on the left side near the rim. I have circled it with red to highlight the crack.soren6I used a microdrill bit to drill a cap hole at the end of the crack to keep it from spreading further down the side of the bowl. The crack was not long so it was an easy fix.soren7I cleaned the top of the rim with a brass bristle brush to clean out all of the grooves and the areas of plateau on top of the bowl. It worked far better than the dental pick to clean off the thick cake on the bowl top. In the photo below you can see the two small cracks. I have circled both of them. I cleaned them out with a dental pick so that they were open. The crack did not go down into the interior of the bowl.soren8I pushed briar dust into the crack and the end cap hole and the put super glue on top of the dust. I put more dust on top of the glue. The three photos below show the repairs.soren9 soren10I sanded the repaired areas with 220 grit sandpaper to remove the excess briar dust and super glue and blend the repairs into the surface of the briar.soren11After sanding the repairs I wiped down the bowl with alcohol to remove the grime on the surface of the briar. I carefully wiped down the area of the repairs.soren12 soren13The next photo shows the repaired area on the side of the bowl toward the top.soren14I touched up the repaired areas with a medium stain pen to blend those lighter areas on the side and on the rim with the colour of the stain.soren15I buffed the pipe with Blue Diamond on the buffing wheel and gave it multiple coats of carnauba wax. I buffed it with a clean buffing pad. I took the next photos of the bowl after buffing.soren16The photo of the top of the bowl shows the newly stained and contrast finish on the rim. I used a black Sharpie pen to colour in the grooves in the top of the rim and the end of the shank. I used the stain pen over that. On the bottom of the bowl the birdseye grain shows some dark stain in the grain.soren17 soren18I cleaned out the mortise and the airway in the shank and the stem with cotton swabs, pipe cleaners and alcohol until they were clean.soren18aI polished the stem with micromesh sanding pads – wet sanding with 1500-2400 grit pads and dry sanding with 3200-12000 grit pads. I rubbed the stem down with Obsidian Oil after each set of three grits. I set the stem aside to dry.soren19 soren20 soren21I buffed the bowl and stem together with Blue Diamond polish and gave it several more coats of carnauba wax. I buffed the pipe with a clean buffing pad and with a microfiber cloth to deepen the shine. The finished pipe is shown in the photos below. It is ready to go back to Steve in Dawson Creek. It is the fifth of the pipes I have been working on for him. I am looking forward to hearing what he thinks of them when he has them in hand. Thanks for looking.soren22 soren23 soren24 soren25 soren26 soren27 soren28 soren29